Rugby World Cup match cancellations as Typhoon hits Japan

England’s game vs France has been called off due to awful weather which has deemed the game unplayable, though there is hope that Scotland vs Japan will go ahead as planned.

The Typhoon, known as Typhoon Hagibis, has been described as the biggest of the year and is causing problems in Tokyo and surrounding areas.

Despite the problems, along with the expectation that Scotland and Japan’s game will go ahead, Ireland’s match against Samoa is also expected to be played.

However, the biggest sporting controversy of this has seen Italy’s match vs New Zealand cancelled completely, denying the Italians an outside chance of qualifying for the knock-out phase of the tournament.

According to BBC Sport, coach Connor O’Shea has said the team are devastated, telling 5Live: “We still had a chance and god knows what happens in sport. It was emotional when we heard the news after training this morning.”

The decision to deny Italy a game vs New Zealand has upset many. We’ve seen examples of this before, where tournaments are having to delay matches due to weather conditions, perhaps making some speculate about why tournaments have been held in countries unable to guarantee the game-time.

This question was raised of the Cricket World Cup in England this summer as rain delays spoiled the opportunity for games to start on time, and there are also fears that the heat in Qatar for the 2022 football World Cup will be too much for players to handle.

However, World Cups should be open to all to host, and in Japan’s defence, this sort of typhoon is a rare occurrence. The tournament has gone brilliantly so far, as did the football World Cup in 2002 and as is also expected of the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.

Japan’s infrastructure makes them arguably a perfect host for an international tournament so it’s a shame that the competition has suffered from a freak occurrence.

For all tournaments, there must be a contingency plan in place for when matches have to be cancelled. It’s not necessarily easy to put in place, but there are so many markets that are impacted by the cancellation of a game.

Not only do Italy get denied a final game at the World Cup, it also allows New Zealand to rest before their next knock-out game. Fans, betting companies and media outlets are all impacted as well, so the decision to cancel the game sparks all sorts of problems for the digital world.

Broadcasters and media have to adapt to the situation at hand and fans are denied the chance to watch a World Cup game (especially those who have travelled far to see one), while betting companies have to deal with people who’s gamblings are impacted by the weather distorting their predictions.

The cancellations will have caused so many issues on and off the pitch, but from a sporting perspective it’s a shame that a potentially memorable moment in the form of Italy defying the odds and beating New Zealand has been taken away from all following the World Cup.

It was always unlikely to happen, but sport has many times before thrown up some strange and amazing moments that have defied all logic. Let’s hope nothing else is impacted by the typhoon going forward.

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